Two types of patents are granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, utility patents and design patents. A utility patent may be issued for any new and non-obvious machine, manufacture or process or for any improvement thereof. Design patents protect non-functional, ornamental features and configurations.
A patent gives the patent owner the exclusive right to exclude others from the manufacture, sale, or use of the patented machine or process. The life of a utility patent is twenty (20) years from the date of the application. The term of a design patent is fourteen (14) years from the date of the Federal Grant.